5 things I learned going through a divorce

My divorce was finalized last Friday. I found it satisfying and somewhat poetic the my marriage, which began on 2/2 ended on 3/3.  If you have never gone through a divorce, one thing you might not know is that your emotions and reactions during the process are sometimes surprising. So, on the day of my divorce I woke up not knowing what to expect. Would I be sad, angry, hurt? Well shockingly, I was giddy. 5 things I learned from my divorce

You see this whole divorce process has felt riddled with uncertainty and instability. Having the finalization from the court was closure. It was the clear end to that chapter of my life and I cannot blame myself for being super excited to start the next chapter.

The trial was not bad. We had an uncontested divorce so there was no fighting and all the arrangements had been agreed to in advance, so basically I just had to tell the story of what happened and reiterate what was in the agreement. That was a blessing. My ex did not even show up to the trial, since he was not required to. I’m not sure how I felt about that. On the one hand, it was easier not to see him, on the other, I wanted him to have to acknowledge the end of our marriage, I wanted him to see me describe the photographic evidence of his infidelity so he would have to confront what he had done. I wanted him to see the judge ask me if I had forgiven him and hear me answer that I had. (This was not the answer the judge was looking for so I had to clarify lol: Forgiveness did not mean that I wanted him back or that I condoned his actions, it meant that I was moving on with my life and letting go of his actions). But you know what? In divorce you don’t always get what you want and perhaps those were selfish desires anyway.

After the trial was over, I fought off a huge grin while my lawyer debriefed me, thinking that it would be an inappropriate time to smile. However, as he walked to the elevator, he caught me in a happy heel click. “I’m so excited” I sang as I danced out of the courthouse “and I just can’t hide it.” I was shocked that I didn’t feel an ounce of sadness in that moment.

With that said, I don’t want to diminish the fact that divorce is hard. It is a major grieving event, like losing a loved one, and if you are facing a divorce, you will likely go through Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. Although I am still relatively new in the divorce process, I wanted to share 5 things that I have learned along the way to help you if you are going through something similar:

  1. Forgiveness helps YOU- As I mentioned before forgiving my ex was a huge step forward. When you hold on to anger and resentment you become bitter and only hurt yourself. Forgiveness doesn’t mean what your ex did was ok, it just means that you are moving on and not letting his or her actions get in your way. Even if you are not feeling forgiving, saying that you forgive your ex or want to forgive your ex will help you find the strength to forgive.
  2. Use this as an opportunity to improve yourself- While its easy to get dragged down by the negatives of divorce, there are many good things that come with it as well. Sometimes the separation can open up new opportunities to go back to school, to start a new job, to move, or simple to find a better relationship and start over. Its also an opportunity to look at what you did wrong in the relationship (yes everyone has fault, even if that fault was just choosing the wrong person to marry) and trying to improve yourself for your next relationship.
  3. If you have kids be their rock- During a divorce, you may have all kinds of crazy impulses of things to do to your ex. DON’T. Especially if you have kids. If you have kids with this person, they will always be in your life and it is in your kids best interest if you can maintain a civil relationship. Before you act, ask yourself “Is this the best thing for my kids?” Your kids had no fault in the destruction of your marriage and yet they have to face the consequences. Do your best to be their rock and take actions only in their best interest. Don’t use your kids as a pawn to make your ex angry, it will only hurt them.
  4. Give yourself time to heal, find support- I consider myself a goal oriented achiever and this divorce really had me sitting on the sidelines for a while. Even now I still feel like I am playing with a handicap. Its easy for me to get frustrated with myself, but that is not helpful or healthy. Give yourself time to feel better. Go to a counselor or support group. Surround yourself with people you love. Healing is a process, it doesn’t happen over night.
  5. Take the high road- This has been my mantra throughout the divorce process. It was given to me by a wise friend (you know who you are). Although, sometimes my feelings have gotten the best of me and I have had me moments where I acted impulsively, overall I try to take the high road and do what is right and what is best for my kids. If you stick to that, you will avoid many of the pitfalls people fall into that cause more problems and more drama.

If you are going through a divorce, my thoughts are with you. Do you have any advice to share?



Here are some books I recommend for coping with the divorce process:

Getting Past Your Break-Up

Getting Back Out There

Surviving Divorce

Posted in Divorce, Valerie Tagged with:

Weekly Workout Wednesday

weekly workout

Today is International Women’s day, so what better way to celebrate than getting your workout on and feeling like the strong, healthy confident woman that you are.

weekly workout

Here is an all body weight workout you can take with you anywhere. I love doing body weight workouts when I go on vacation if the hotel gym sucks. Yes, I am that crazy girl doing lunges on the beach. Haters gonna hate…

Walking Lunges 20 x each leg

Prisoner Squat 20

Hack Squat 20 x each leg

Frog Jumps 20

Switch Lunge Jumps 20 (10 each leg)

Repeat 3 times.

Let me know if you give it a try!




Posted in Fitness, Goals, Motivation

Weekly Workout Wednesday

weekly workout

As I mentioned before, I am always curious about what type of workouts others do. When I first started working out, I looked to magazines for workout ideas. However, as I became a certified personal trainer and started to learn more about fitness, I began to create my own workouts for myself and my clients. Over the years I have created hundreds of workouts, so I thought it would be a great idea to share them. Starting this week, I will post a new workout each Wednesday.

weekly workout

Here is a quick little leg workout that is guaranteed to kick your butt. It is based on German volume training and although you will be doing just 4 exercises, you will be doing a lot of sets, which will maximize your muscle time under tension and thus help you sculpt your legs. For the exercises that call for 10 sets, you will want to go a little lighter on the weight than you might usually use.


Barbell Deadlift 10 sets x 10 reps

Super set with

Goblet Squat 10 sets x 10 reps


Leg Extension 3 sets x 10 reps

Super set with

Leg Curl 3 sets x 10 reps

This workout took me less than an hour to complete but I was super sore the next day. Let me know if you try it an what you think!



Posted in Fitness, Goals Tagged with: ,

Hear Me Roar

hear me roar

Hi Guys!

Hope you are having a great week! A friend told me a story the other day and I wanted to share it with you:

There was once a lion king (no not, Disney’s Lion King, in case you were wondering…) and his little lion cub (no, not Simba). The lion king was taking the little cub out for the first time to show him around his kingdom. All of a sudden, a hunter appeared and shot the big lion king. The cub was devastated and began to cry.

hear me roar

Along came a shepherd who saw the dead lion king and took pity on the little cub. He wanted to help the cub, but he was worried that if he took the cub home, it would eat his sheep when it grew up. Then the shepherd got an idea, he would shave the lion and make him believe that he was a sheep so that he could integrate with his herd. So the shepherd took the lion home and shaved him. When the cub was introduced to the flock, the other sheep made fun of him, they called him ugly and told him he was weird.

As years passed the lion lost confidence and thought he was just a misfit sheep. He felt sad and lonely. Then one day, another lion came and started devouring the sheep. When the new lion reached the lion cub, the lion cub cowered. “Please don’t eat me, I’m just a helpless sheep he said.” “No,” said the other lion, “you are a lion like me. You are my king, you have been lost, I have been looking for you.” He took the cub down to the river to look at his reflection. As the cub looked at his reflection he realized that he was indeed a lion. He had been told he was a sheep for so long, that he believed it.


That story resonated with me. Have you ever believed that you were a “sheep.” Have you ever believed that you couldn’t go after your dreams because you weren’t good enough, have you ever believed that you’d never lose weight because you are destined to be fat, have you ever believed that you just weren’t born to be courageous. We often falsely develop these self dismissing beliefs. Like the lion in the story we let others tell us what we are capable of. Well guess what? I think we all have a little lion in us. We are capable of so much more, we just have to pull the wool from our eyes (pun intended). So get out there and make today amazing you lions and lionesses…

Do you have any beliefs that are holding you back?




Posted in Goals, life, Motivation, Valerie Tagged with: , , ,

Groundhog’s day

groundhogs day

Today is my anniversary to my husband from whom I am divorcing. Today is also groundhog’s day. This made me think of the movie groundhog’s day. In the movie, Bill Murray’s character Phil is forced to relive groundhog’s day over and over again until he learns to re-prioritize his life. As he realizes that he is living the same day over and over again he starts to live recklessly, then he becomes depressed at the hopelessness of the situation and tries to commit suicide, but it doesn’t work. He just wakes up to repeat the day again. Finally, he uses the repeated day as an opportunity to learn, to grow and to help others with his knowledge of how the day will unfold and through this, he is finally able to move on and wake up in a new day.

groundhogs day

I kind of see my marriage and divorce like this. Of course my marriage had problems, some I worked to change, some I couldn’t change and some I chose to ignore. Now with my divorce I get a second chance. This is my groundhog’s day. I get a chance to learn from my mistakes in the past to try to grow and change and make things better. If I don’t use this chance to change and grow, I am doomed to repeat my mistakes and end in another failed relationship.

Sometimes having to start over can feel burdensome. It can feel exhausting and dull like you wasted all of that effort only to have to start again. Don’t see it like that. See it like a fresh start, a new beginning, a chance to learn and grow, because only when you learn the lessons of the past, will you stop repeating them.

What lesson have you had a second chance to learn?



Posted in Motivation, Valerie Tagged with: ,

No More Back Pain

No More back pain

A few months after Pierce was born I started having some back pain. It started slowly enough, just a dull ache in my sacrum but then one night I was stretching and felt a sharp pain in my back that left me hobbling around for the rest of the evening. This shouldn’t be happening to me, I thought, I’m a Pilates instructor for crying out loud. So I started going to see an acupuncturist and a chiropractor to see what I could do about the back pain. While the acupuncture and chiropractor helped, the problem would return again.No More back pain

It was on one of my visits to a chiropractor that I had a revelation. I was talking to her about the back pain and how it was one sided and I felt it mostly when I was carrying my baby in his car seat. That’s when I realized, the back pain was probably caused by carrying the car seat ONLY on my left side. So I decided to try an experiment. I started carrying my baby and holding the car seat only on my right side. And guess what? The back pain disappeared in about a week! Duh!!

It just goes to show you sometimes our pain is caused by imbalances we create in our bodies, and rather than trying to slap a band aid on the problem, what we really need to do is examine the root cause. If you spend all day slouched over your desk, one Pilates class a week is not going to undo all the damage you have done. Its up to you to create healthy, balanced patterns in your life and to keep that sense of awareness when something does not feel right.

Have you ever realized you were causing your own pain?




Posted in Postpartum, Pregnancy, Valerie Tagged with:

I call BS

Lately my creative engines have stalled. I spent a lot of time scrolling through the internet searching for “inspiration.” I spent a lot of time wondering why my creativity felt like it had seized up. And finally the answer revealed itself to me. Everything I was looking at that was “inspirational” just felt too fake and phony, a little too much like BS.

Creativity, for me, comes from a very deep and genuine place and if I was trying to spread rainbows and unicorns when I wasn’t feeling it I knew it wasn’t going to work. So looking at inspiration that was rainbows and unicorns was also not going to work.

Overwhelmingly, I was pained by a nagging question:  How can I inspire others to be healthy when I’ve let my own health slip? If I try to help others at a time like this, I feel like the phony, I feel like I am the one spewing BS.

But the truth is, I am only human. We all are. We all have moments when our health takes a backseat and the important thing is that we don’t beat ourselves up over it, but instead we try to learn from it and do better when we can.

If I was the perfect picture of health and always got 8 hours of sleep and always ate the perfect meals with the perfect amount of calories and macros and always got in a perfect workout, I would not be relatable. After all no one is perfect. And yet, perfection is the image the diet and fitness industry wants to perpetuate. Well guess what? I call BS. Whenever something seems to good to be true, look for smoke and mirrors. Don’t beat yourself up because you don’t live up to some industry’s version of “perfect” work at being the best version of yourself even if that means you are sometimes a hot mess.




Posted in Motivation, Valerie Tagged with: , ,

New Years Resolutions 2017

Well… its that time of year again. Time for setting goals and making resolutions because the brand spanking new year ahead feels like a fresh start. 2016 was filled with challenges for me, but looking back on the goals I set for myself in 2016, I did manage to achieve 3 out of 5 of them and am working on the other 2 in spite of my set backs.

my goals

Setting goals is important. People who set goals achieve more than those who don’t. Setting goals gives you a clear intention and helps you work toward something, rather than just aimlessly wandering through life (not that there is anything wrong with that if that is what you want, but I’m sure you have a lot more potential than that 😉 ). Often times we feel like we are too busy to set goals, when really sitting down and establishing clear goals and priorities would help us the most in calming our “busy-ness” and becoming more productive and efficient.

So here are some of my career goals for 2017:

  1. Get my schedule under control- I have been ridiculously inefficient lately and need to figure out how to work more efficiently with the time I have.
  2. Finish writing my Pre/Postnatal Fitness Book- This has been a goal of mine, to help expecting and new mamas to take care of their body.
  3. Host a Pre/Postnatal workshop- This feeds off ideas in my book
  4. Develop my Pre/Postnatal yoga online class- I recorded a few yoga classes when I was pregnant, I would love to turn them into a resource for expecting moms

You can see that my focus in 2017 will be mostly Pre & Postnatal. This is a topic I am really passionate about. So how about you? What are some of your resolutions or goals for 2017?

Posted in Goals Tagged with: , ,

Mountains to Climb

Sometimes it can feel like you are climbing a mountain. Sometimes you feel like each step is a struggle. You feel tired and worn down. But even as exhausted as you are, the peak of the mountain beacons.

You know each step, as difficult as it might be, is taking you closer to your goal and so you push forward.  You keep going. Long past when your body would have given up your heart drags you on.

2016 felt like a mountain to me. If you read my previous post you know why. But I keep going because inside me a fire is burning. I am taking steps toward my goal of helping as many people as possible through fitness and nutrition.

I would love for you to be one of those people. Let me help you reach your mountain peak. You can find out how to work with me here.



Posted in Goals, Motivation, Valerie

How to make a healthy meal

One of the biggest problems my clients struggle with is creating a healthy meal. At the end of a long day, cooking is usually the last thing you want to do. Its way easier to order out or pop in a microwave meal to avoid having to make something healthy. AND its not just that. Sometimes, its just the act of having to THINK up a healthy meal that creates enough of a barrier. Well today I wanted to remove that barrier for you by giving you my super simple formula for creating a healthy meal in about 30 min. If you follow this formula, you will be able to quickly come up with easy to prepare, healthy meals. And  we all know its way better for your body, your energy levels AND your waist line if you invest the time in cooking a healthy meal.

make a healthy meal

So here is my simple formula to help you make a healthy meal, quickly and easily. Create your meals around these 4 main components: 1 serving of protein (4-6oz), 1 serving of complex carbohydrates (4-6 oz) 1 Serving of vegetables (about a cup) and a healthy fat (1 Tbsp) (if your protein choice already is higher fat or if you use fat in the cooking process, skip the healthy fat).

Once you select your components you can get creative with how you prepare them: bake, sautee, grill, sear, boil (try to avoid high fat cooking methods like frying). You can also get creative with the spices you use. Most spices are low in calories. Then prepare the food. This can take as little as 20 min (baked fish and quinoa) or it could take a little longer, but I find that if I use this method and keep my preparation simple I am done cooking in about 30 min. Thats less time than it usually takes to get a pizza delivered!

Here are my lists of components to give you an idea of what options you have. Keep in mind that these lists are just a sampling and you can get as creative as you’d like 😉


  • Chicken breast
  • Lean ground chicken (skip healthy fat)
  • Turkey breast
  • Lean ground turkey (skip healthy fat)
  • Lean steak
  • Tilapia
  • Salmon (skip healthy fat)
  • Swordfish
  • Sea bass (skip healthy fat)
  • Mahi-mahi
  • Grilled calamari
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Whey isolate Protein powder
  • Egg whites
  • Whole eggs (skip healthy fat)

Complex Carbohydrates:

  • Brown rice
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Fruit
  • Whole Grain bread
  • Whole Grain Pasta


  • Leafy greens
  • Green beans
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Squash
  • Bell peppers
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant


  • Fish oil
  • Flax oil
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Cashews
  • Almond milk
  • Vinaigrette/Dressing
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado
  • Almond butter

Here are some simple meal ideas I’ve tried in the past:

  • Grilled tofu with brown rice and seaweed
  • Fish tacos with whole wheat tortilla and veggies
  • Grilled chicken and veggie kabobs drizzled with olive oil and served with brown rice
  • Baked spiced fish w/ quinoa and arugula salad and vinagrette
  • Veggie frittata with baked potato “fries”


Posted in Nutrition Tagged with: , ,